Minor League Minutes: 4/11/22

The first week of the 2022 MiLB season has concluded. Nick Pratto went nuts, blasting three home runs in his first week of the season. MJ Melendez blasted his first HR, as did Kale Emshoff and Tyler Gentry down in Quad Cities. Be sure to keep reading for an update on how the Royals affiliates fared in the first week of the season.

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Be sure to check out Jared’s roster breakdowns. The High-A breakdown will be out later today and Low-A later this week.

Of course we all know Asa Lacy is the top pitching prospect on the Naturals roster. In my recent article on overcoming injuries, Lacy mentioned he is looking to take that adversity from last season and bounce back healthy in 2022. “I’m a believer in how adversity can impact an athlete for the better and it certainly has been that way for me,” Lacy said.

Check out our latest update on some college prospects that could be in play for KC with the 9th overall pick in this year’s MLB Draft.

This will also be the last time Jung appears on this list because he has also hit his way into probably a top-5 pick. Literally five minutes after I wrote that sentence, Baseball America dropped their second mock draft of the year with Jace Jung to the Royals at #9. I cannot tell you how excited I would be to have him in Royal blue.

AAA Omaha Storm Chasers (2-4)

It was a rough week for the Storm Chasers after what was something a dominant win on Opening Day. Nick Pratto blasted three HR last week, but he also struck out 10 times. None of the Royals top prospects (Melendez, Pratto, Pasquantino) are hitting over .200 at the moment. The back end of the Chasers bullpen was nails in victories, but the rotation was spotty and the mid relief was…well, bad. Omaha will look to get right this week, as they return home for the first time in 2022 and play host to the Louisville Bats (Reds).

Sunday’s Box Score:
– Dungan: 0-3, HBP, K
– Pratto: 0-4
– Melendez: 1-4, HR
– Rivera: 1-3, BB, K
– Pasquantino: 1-3, BB, SB
– Hicklen: 0-4, 2 K
– Bolanos: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 3 R, 6 K
– Griffin: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 0 R, 2 K
– Vines: 1 IP, 0 H, 2 BB, 0 R, 2 K

AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals (1-2)

It wasn’t exactly a banner weekend for the Naturals pitching staff, as they allowed at least eight runs in all three games. The offense was good in spurts, but it couldn’t keep up with the Cardinals, who scored 32 runs in three games. Anthony Veneziano walked five batters and didn’t get out of the first inning of his start, Drew Parrish walked three in three innings of work, and Angel Zerpa allowed seven runs in two innings in his start. Asa Lacy and Alec Marsh figure to work into the rotation soon, so reinforcements are on the way, but the offense has been good enough to carry the pitching staff for a while while they work some things out.

Sunday’s Box Score:
– Garcia: 1-4, 2B, BB
– Rave: 0-4, 2 K
– Massey: 0-2, BB, K
– Eaton: 0-3, BB
– Means: 2-3, HR, BB
– Bradley: 2-4, 2B
– Zerpa: 2 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 7 R, 0 K
– Haake: 4 IP, 5 H, 0 BB, 3 R, 0 K

A+ Quad Cities River Bandits (2-1)

The River Bandits had a very different weekend from the rest of the organization, allowing just seven total runs in three games against the South Bend Cubs. Noah Murdock was excellent. Tyson Guerrero didn’t walk a single batter. Adrian Alcantara was nails. Christian Chamberlain was nasty. Of all the teams in the Royals system I probably had the lowest expectations for this River Bandits team preseason, but they impressed me more than anyone in their first three games. They return home for the first time in 2022 this week.

Sunday’s Box Score:
– Tolbert: 2-4, 2B, 2 BB, K
– Dixon: 2-5, 2B, 3 K
– Gentry: 3-5, HR, BB, 2 K
– Emshoff: 2-6, 2B, K
– Tresh: 1-5, 2 K
– Gonzalez: 1-4, HR, BB, 2 K
– Garza: 1-4, BB, K
– Guerrero: 4.2 IP, 4 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 5 K
– Alcantara: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 0 ER, 8 K

A- Columbia Fireflies (1-2)

The weekend started out with a bang for the Fireflies after Erick Pena hit a mammoth walkoff home run on Friday night. It’s the kind of start the 19-year old needed after struggling in Arizona last summer, and even though the strikeouts were something of an issue this weekend, Pena showing off his power and having some early success is a fantastic confidence builder early on this season. Darryl Collins also got off to a hot start, hitting three impressive opposite-field doubles in his return to Low-A. I questioned the assignment at the beginning of the season, seeing as I was pretty sure Collins should’ve been in High-A, but Collins could certainly use some time to develop and he is in a loaded lineup down there in Columbia. Should be a big year for everyone involved.

Sunday’s Box Score:
– Grullon: 1-3, BB, K
– Pena: 0-3, BB, SB, 3 K
– Jensen: 1-4
– Collins: 3-4, 2 2B
– Cerantola: 3.1 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 ER, 3 K
– Valerio: 3 IP, 1 H, 4 BB, 3 ER, 5 K
– McMillon: 1 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 1 K


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